I love Ramen!

Out of all the foods in the world, Ramen stands as one of my top 5 favorites. I love the stuff. It's an entire full meal in itself. The noodle are the main "meaty" course. The broth provides an excellent complementary base for the noodles. And there's little bits of veggies, eggs or meat for variety.

Though, it wasn't until a year or so into college, when I first stepped into the Asian Market in Minneapolis, that I became such a Ramen freak. Previously, I had consumed the crappy Maruchan stuff found in grocers. But when came upon the vast selection of the Asian Market, I was utterly stunned. An entire aisle, filled both sides full of almost one hundred different kinds of Ramen. My senses were momentarily overloaded. I figured they would have more selection and better quality Ramen, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I did the only logical thing I could think of. I bought one of every different brand and flavor they had. The store clerk wasn't very happy when I set a few hand-baskets full of single packs on his counter full Ramen that were all different. $50 bought me two months worth of food!

With each and every Ramen pack I made, I wrote down my thoughts on my blog, and scored each one. It was my quest to figure out which was the best Ramen of them all. Throughout those 2 months, which was actually closer to 3 or 4 since I didn't eat Ramen every single day, I worked my way through some pretty mediocre products. You can find most of these reviews in my archives, somewhere around 2003.

I did eventually find the two best kinds of Instant Ramen ever made.. but I had learned a lot along the way. What makes the best Ramen? How does cost factor into the decision? What sort of things added to the Ramen really bring out the taste? What else can I do with Ramen outside of the simple instructions?

Ode to Ramen, collage

For every pack of Ramen I ate, I kept the packaging. I laid the package on my desk, and placed several books on top to flatten them. After I completed my task of finding the best Ramen, I created a collage of my journey.

Though, I guess as an Ode to Finding the best Ramen, it doesn't really work at all. But it does show the frantic over-sensitized decision I had to originally make when I found myself in the Ramen aisle. So many choices! Which one is it?!


By the way, the Answer can be found in the lower left hand side, Nong Shim's Shin Ramyun (which is Korean and may no longer exist), and on the left hand side, Mama's Tomyun Shrimp (which is Thai and can be found at Copps).

Dr. Suess' Ramen

Of course, none of those can compare to actual Ramen in Japan. And especially Hakata Ramen found on the streets of Fukuoka, Japan after night fall. I ate a shit load of Ramen with studying abroad in Nagasaki, Japan. Some from franchises, some from street vendors, and even some new Instant flavors I hadn't tried before.

When deciding on a topic for my "final" history project, I lept at the chance to cover Ramen. And I did so in the form of verse. Thanks to links on Wikipedia and general Google searching, finding enough information to form a timeline was pretty easy. Though, I still ended up at the local Internet Cafe quite late, trying to pull everything together.

I wrote my script, and rocked the microphone hard!! Here ya go!

Dr. Suess' Ramen - 5 min 42 sec

If I knew piano, I would probably re-record this lovable "poem" with a nice beat. "Dr. Suess' Ramen Piano Bar Remix" Maybe someday in the future.

This was recorded near the end of 2006. Unfortunately, just 5 days into January 2007, the creator of Instant Ramen, Momofuku Ando, went to that big Cup 'o Noodle in the sky at age 96. Ninety-fucking-six! Ando truly proves that Ramen is the secret to a long and full life. ^_^


The is the history of instant noodles or Ramen
A food product which is quite common

It is everyone's favorite noodle dish
Though the term itself, is rather ambiguous

In America, the term "Ramen" refers to Instant Noodles
Popular among college students, who are quite frugal

Noodle-like food has existed for several centuries
The first known occurrence in in 3000 BCEs.

The Chinese had their first taste of flour and wheat
Way before the Greeks ever thought of it to eat

Noodles themselves took form around the year 300
Whole Grain paste was shaped by the Chinese into thread

Noodles were imported to Japan from Buddhist trends
This happen in 538 AD into the late 500s

This is where the term began its name of Ramen
It was the Japanese pronunciation of Chinese "Lo Mein"

Although some European historians disagree
Noodles were also imported over to Italy, initially

The Greeks may have already invented pasta
But noodles came from China before it was on their rasta

Spaghetti began in the eleven or twelve hundreds
While in Japan, it began its popularity in the 1800s

Making Soba noodles was a Zen activity
Difficult and taxing to make, hence the obscurity

The popularity was mostly due to western influence
Meat and spice was added to create pure deliciousness

As Ramen gained popularity in Showa period vendors
It was rather difficult to prepare and render

After the second World War, food became quite sparse
Ramen gained more popularity due to its calories and starch

Incredible advances in Ramen technology were needed
After trial and error, Momofuku Ando finally succeeded

On August 25, 1958, Ramen was changed world-wide
You deep fry the noodles with palm oil, and you make them dried

Chicken Ramen was the first product ever released
All you had to do was add water to the beast

The Japanese people were so impressed
Miracle Ramen was the nickname the suited it best

In 1960, Instant coffee joined with the instant noodles
After that, Instant product development began in oodles

Department stores held fairs dedicated to the Instant craze
By the 1960s, "Instant" was the buzz word of the days

In 1964, Ando founded the Instant Food Industry Association
It set guidelines for quality and fairness of Instant food creation

Ramen was originally just one part
Flavoring was baked in from the start

The big change was separating noodles and flavor
The taste became more of a natural savor

You could also add in your own ingredients
Ramen cooking fads became more evident

At the top of the next decades
America got their first taste of the craze

Nissin established their American conglomerate
Top Ramen was released in the US market

The next Advancement was by Ando at Nissin
In 1971, you didn't even need a kitchen

Cup Noodles were released and it was a milestone
You could make Ramen while you walked or drove

This was the first use of Styrofoam for a consumable
This invention was amazing despite being non-recyclable

This craze took shape with Udon and Yakisoba
By '75, the Yakisoba UFO arrived on the shelves for ya

This radical shaped dish looked like a flying saucer
Many began to imitate this crazy schlosser

Traditionally, each Japan region had their own unique method
From Japan to the world, exports in technology had spread

The next thing in the Ramen craze,
was gourmet brands in the early 80s

Even though, there were over twice the money
They accounted for over 40 percent of all Ramen sales, sonny

Gourmet brands had appealed to the connoisseur
But now high school student wanted something newer

They complained the portions were too small
But in the late 80s, larger cup sizes were released for all

Convenient stores were a regular site
many stores were completely sold outright

Ramen's look and appeal had matured over the ages
By 1990, the taste was taken to the next stages

A more traditional style taste was created
Once again, Ramen sales were elevated

Their traditional style taste is called Yama
It first began with Udon, and two years later, Ramen

By 1995, the sales total of all Ramen was 5.19 billion
Since then, total sales have been well into the trillions

In 2005, China was the one that consumed the most
The amount of Ramen is 44.3 billion packs, in gross

That accounts for about two thirds of Ramen sold
65 billion total in 2005, I've been told

At the turn of the century, Japan was pulled nonchalantly
Instant Ramen was the greatest invention of the 2000 century

The Japanese Public said it was more important than Karaoke
It came second, and fifth was the invention of the CD

Though, there is some people concerned with health
They say, "Ramen is bad for you. Don't eat that filth!"

Well, Ramen does contain quite a bit of carbohydrates
Also, fiber, vitamins and minerals are supplied in low rates

Since they're deep fried, Ramen had high levels of saturated fat
High amounts of sodium are also included with that

But Ramen really isn't all that bad for you, of course
Just make sure not to eat it as your main dietary source

You can also add plenty of vegetables and meat
You get more nutrition. Plus, it takes real neat

I always add in an egg or two personally
I creates a fuller taste, plus adds protein

So, this has been the history of Instant Ramen
Since its advent, it has had a worldwide followin'

Ramen is truly one of the best inventions of all time
Thank you for listening, now I don't need to talk in... Poetry Stuff.

The ending is a very shameful rip-off of Sam Keith's The Maxx :/